Dobsonian telescope is a reflecting telescope mounted on a simple but effective horizon-type mount, which is invented and popularized by amateur astronomer John Dobsonian in the 1960s. It is placed in a box or bracket and can be tilted up and down. The box itself is mounted on a rotatable platform so you can turn the Dobsonian telescope horizontally.

Dobsonian telescopes work by reflecting the light traversing inside their OTA (optical tube assembly) from a curved primary mirror onto a flat secondary mirror which subsequently directs the light to the focuser. The exceptional feature of Dobsonian telescope is the altazimuth mount. It is an easy-to-use mount that can move left, right, up, and down. Depth of sight and large light-gathering capabilities are two other key characteristics of this kind of telescope. So, Dobsonian telescopes collect huge amounts of light and then focus it on a single point.

Basic Dobsonian telescope is a portable and affordably priced telescope. These telescopes utilize thinner mirrors and the tubes are usually manufactured of thick industrial compressed paper instead of fiberglass or aluminum. It can’t track stars, but its simple design means you can usually save money on a larger telescope. Its design is intended for beginners, so they are easy to set up and use. Enjoy planetary observation at the best with the choice of the best Dobsonian telescope for beginners from the following selection.

List of The Best Dobsonian Telescope

Check out the thorough reviews of the best Dobsonian telescope for beginners below.

1. Zhumell Z130 Portable Altazimuth Dobsonian Reflector Telescope

Zhumell Z130 Portable Altazimuth Dobsonian Reflector Telescope

Whether you are an inexperienced stargazer or an experienced astronomer, the Zhumell Z130 Dobsonian telescope brings the night sky on your terms. This portable telescope always comes in handy to convey detailed, impressive images. It lets you quickly peek at the sky in a backyard and enjoy a marathon night of stargazing. The precise focusing and versatility make it the best Dobsonian telescope for beginners on the list.

One of the exceptional characteristics of this Dobsonian telescope is the 130 mm parabolic primary mirror. This high-end feature is not commonly found in telescopes of this size. Moreover, the mirror eliminates visual defects including spherical aberration. Therefore, it provides strikingly sharp views. Note that the primary mirror and every other optical surface are coated using Zhumell’s high-reflectivity coatings.

The mechanical design of the Z130 is streamlined. Due to its lightweight and compact design, you can carry this Zhumell Z130 Dobsonian telescope on vacation, camping trips, and more. You can start using it in seconds at your observing site. Accessories packed in are a single-arm Dobsonian mount with an eyepiece tray, 25 mm red dot finder, 1.25-inch eyepiece, and a screwdriver.

Key Features

  • The industry standard 1.25” focuser is compatible with several different accessories.
  • With the included 10 mm and 25 mm eyepieces, it is easy to change magnifications.
  • More than 90% light transmission guarantees bright views of even dim objects such as nebulae.
  • The diameter of the objective lens is 130 mm.
  • The telescope mount used is the Altazimuth mount.
  • The Finderscope is Reflex.
  • Telescope dimensions and weight: 24 x 18 x 18.5 inches; 18.6 pounds.

Pros And Cons

  • The Dobsonian style base facilitates easy tracking and smooth motions
  • Easy-to-use red-dot finder simplifies the aiming for any level of user
  • Comes with an industry standard 1.25” focuser which is compatible with various accessories
  • Sturdy, durable construction means that it can withstand years of usage and travel
  • Someone reports the rubber edging on the base is poorly glued

2. Celestron 21023 Cometron 76mm Dobsonian Telescope

Celestron 21023 Cometron 76mm Dobsonian Telescope

With this Celestron Dobsonian telescope, you can become an instant astronomer. It is an easy-to-use, cost-effective, and feature-rich tabletop telescope. It is suitable for astronomers of all age groups.

The fast focal ratio provides a broad field of view. Therefore, this Celestron telescope is perfect for observing galaxies, comets, star clusters, and other astronomical bodies. The portable and lightweight design suggests that this unit is an excellent grab-and-go telescope. A finderscope and two Kellner eyepieces are also included in the pack.

Key Features

  • The wide field of view lets you observe the brightest portion of the comet as well as its tail or deep-sky objects like the Orion Nebula.
  • The eyepiece lens is Kellner.
  • The diameter of the objective lens is 76 mm.
  • The telescope mount used is Altazimuth.
  • The Finderscope is Reflex.
  • Multi-coating is available on the lens.
  • When you purchase the Starry Night educational software, you get access to the SkyPortal planetarium app for Android and iOS.
  • Telescope dimensions and weight: 10 x 13 x 10 inches; 2 pounds.

Pros And Cons

  • Includes both a 20 mm and a 10 mm eyepiece which allows magnification up to 30x
  • No-tool set up so that you can start using it immediately
  • The compact, lightweight design is perfect for use in outdoor adventure
  • The appearance is stylish enough to work as a decorative fixture on a desk or bookshelf
  • The focus range is small

3. Orion 8944 SkyQuest XT6 Classic Dobsonian Telescope

Orion 8944 SkyQuest XT6 Classic Dobsonian Telescope

Get a 6-inch large aperture at an affordable price with the purchase of this Orion Dobsonian telescope. Any beginner can use this telescope to obtain a lifetime of splendid views. Easy navigation and no need to polar align suggest that this Dobsonian telescope is very easy to use for the entire family. Its stable base offers a vibration-free image output even when you view it at high power. Moreover, smooth motions streamline the tracking of celestial objects.

Key Features

  • The 6 inches diameter of the f/8 parabolic mirror is appropriate for viewing Moon and other planetary objects. Also, this diameter offers an adequate light grasp for deep-sky viewing of galaxies, nebulas, and star clusters.
  • To support any 1.25-inch Orion eyepiece or accessory, this telescope comes with a 1.25-inch PTFE-lined rack-and-pinion focuser.
  • The focal length is 1200 mm.
  • The lowest useful magnification is 21x and the highest useful magnification is 300x.
  • The Limiting stellar magnitude is 13.5.
  • The lens coating is Aluminum & Silicon Dioxide.
  • The Finderscope is Reflex.
  • Telescope dimensions and weight: 48.7 x 16.3 x 13.6 inches; 20.1 pounds.

Pros And Cons

  • Setup takes only a minute
  • Simple navigation and no requirement of polar align
  • A stable Dobsonian base offers vibration-free images
  • The smooth focus control lets you easily set fine details when observing objects in the night sky
  • A bit difficult to carry outdoors

4. Sky Watcher 10-inch Classic 250 Dobsonian Telescope

Sky Watcher 10-inch Classic 250 Dobsonian Telescope

This Sky-Watcher Dobsonian telescope is commonly referred to as a “light bucket”. It boasts a simple telescope design with the help of an aluminum tube, two mirrors, and a rocker box. If you are new to the field of astronomy and intend to experience vivid planetary viewing then this Dobsonian telescope is quite beneficial to you. It comes complete with all accessories namely a 2-inch Crayford-style focuser with a 1.25-inch adapter, two super wide-angle eyepieces (10 mm and 25 mm), and 9×50 mm straight-through finder scope.

Key Features

  • The patented tension control handles enable precise movement without requiring maintaining a perfect balance.
  • The multi-coated borosilicate primary and secondary mirrors offer 94% reflectivity.
  • The diameter of the objective lens is 25mm.
  • The telescope mount is Alt-alt-mount.
  • The Finderscope is Reflex.
  • The focus type is Auto Focus.
  • Telescope dimensions and weight: 49 x 27 x 20 inches; 40 pounds.

Pros And Cons

  • Optics with 94% reflectivity
  • Proprietary Teflon bearings guarantee smooth azimuth movement
  • The patented tension control handle equips this telescope with excellent control for accurate aiming and slewing
  • Benefits users with a big aperture at a low budget
  • Note that this model may not be shipped complete, so check the product when you receive it

5. Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro Dobsonian Reflector Telescope

Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro Dobsonian Reflector Telescope

This Orion Dobsonian telescope is an excellent grab-and-go telescope engineered for beginners and intermediate astronomy enthusiasts. It makes it easy to locate and learn about fascinating astronomical bodies. The reason why it is one of the best Dobsonian telescopes for beginners is that the included Orion E-Series moon filter helps in enhancing the viewing pleasure of the Moon. You can access the Orion star target planisphere which is a useful star chart wheel to view any day of the year.

Accessories packed in are a Moon Map 260, Star Target Planisphere, Moon filter, two Explorer II 1.25″ Kellner telescope eyepieces (17 mm and 6 mm), collimation cap, eyepiece rack, EZ Finder II reflex sight, and Starry Night astronomy software.

Key Features

  • The lens aperture of 4.5 inches and fast f/4 focal ratio offers vivid, detailed views of astronomical objects like planets, the Moon, star clusters, and nebulas.
  • The focal length is 6 mm.
  • The telescope mount is Altazimuth Mount.
  • The lens coating is Aluminum & Silicon Dioxide.
  • The Finderscope is Reflex.
  • Telescope dimensions and weight: 25.8 x 18.4 x 17.8 inches; 18.66 pounds.

Pros And Cons

  • Starry Night Special Edition software helps you to learn about the night sky
  • The built-in base handle makes it an excellent ‘grab-and-go’ telescope 
  • Aiming the telescope is easy with the included Orion EZ Finder II red-dot sight
  • Provides a detailed view of wide-field celestial objects
  • The manual focus is not so accurate

6. Zhumell Z10 Deluxe Dobsonian Reflector Telescope

Zhumell Z10 Deluxe Dobsonian Reflector Telescope

The sturdy, durable construction of Zhumell Z10 Dobsonian telescope suggests that it can stand up to years of years. You can use it on camping trips, star parties, and more. The pack contains accessories like manual clutches, a 2-inch focuser with adapter, two eyepieces, a collimator, lens caps, Finderscope, and Moon Filter.

Key Features

  • The focal length is 1250 mm.
  • The Telescope Mount is Altazimuth Mount.
  • Three LR44 batteries are included.
  • The Finderscope is Reflex.
  • Telescope dimensions and weight: 21 x 21 x 55 inches; 47 pounds.

Pros And Cons

  • Can be broken down into two manageable pieces which makes storage and transportation easy
  • Laser Collimator guarantees that your optics are perfectly aligned for razor-sharp images
  • Neck saving 8×50 Right Angle finder increases the efficiency of aiming the telescope and tracing your favorite celestial object
  • The cooling fan quickly cools down the telescope so observation is faster
  • The PDF manual is clearly written and conveys valuable information
  • Someone reports the finder scope doesn’t connect securely, the threads are loose

7. Sky-Watcher 12-inch Flextube 300 Dobsonian Telescope

Sky-Watcher 12-inch Flextube 300 Dobsonian Telescope

This Sky-Watcher 12-inch Dobsonian telescope is one of the best Dobsonian telescopes for beginners on this list because it boasts a cutting-edge collapsible design. The exceptional strut design permits the optical tube to collapse for hassle-free portability while maintaining collimation.

Key Features

  • The fully multi-coated borosilicate primary and secondary mirrors offer 94% reflectivity.
  • The diameter of the objective lens is 305 mm.
  • The Finderscope is Reflex.
  • The focus type is Auto Focus.
  • Telescope dimensions and weight: 41 x 29 x 21 inches; 35 pounds.

Pros And Cons

  • Big aperture offers a vivid, bold viewing experience at a lower cost than other optical designs
  • The patented tension control handle offers the Flextube Dobsonian control for accurate aiming and slewing
  • The unique strut design lets the optical tube collapse for easy storage and transportation
  • Supports 94% reflectivity rating with a parabolic borosilicate mirror and a quartz overcoat
  • The base is heavy because it is built from particleboard

8. Orion 10014 SkyQuest XT4.5 Classic Dobsonian Telescope

Orion 10014 SkyQuest XT4.5 Classic Dobsonian Telescope

This Orion Dobsonian reflector telescope is perfect for traveling trips to backyard at home. It is useful for surveying Moon’s craters, mountains, and valleys. The included accessories are two eyepieces (25 mm and 10 mm), 1.25-inch rack and pinion focuser, 6×30 finder scope, eyepiece rack, collimation cap, and Starry Night astronomy software.

Key Features

  • The optical diameter of the lens is 114 mm and the focal length is 900 mm.
  • The focal ratio is f/7.9.
  • The Lowest useful magnification is 17x and the highest useful magnification is 228x.
  • The Limiting stellar magnitude is 12.9.
  • The Resolving power is 1.02arc*sec.
  • Telescope dimensions and weight: 41 x 13.5 x 13 inches; 22 pounds.

Pros And Cons

  • The innovative design, portable size, and point-and-view make it a very user-friendly telescope for beginners
  • f/8 focal ratio and long focal length offer well-defined views of astronomical bodies
  • Sharp crosshairs inside the finder easily center objects in the field of view.
  • A Portable and sturdy Dobsonian base and convenient navigation knob enable easy maneuvering of the reflector optical tube
  • Can barely see Jupiter, much less Saturn

How To Pick The Best Dobsonian Telescope for Beginners?

When deciding to get the best Dobsonian telescope for beginners, the knowledge of the following factors simplifies your buying decision.

1. Manual vs. Motorized

Dobsonian telescopes are usually available in two configurations – a manual mount and a motorized mount.

The manual mount is an easy ‘point and shoot’ system that allows you to manually control the movements of the telescope using your hands. Firstly, you need to find the object on your own via the tiny finder scope that is mounted on the main telescope. Next, you need to look for it in the eyepiece. Note that it needs the knowledge of the sky. However, don’t worry because it is very easy to study from the star maps. 

If you are fine spending some extra money then you can go for a motorized mount implemented with the GoTo system. In these types of telescopes, you can still move the telescope manually but you will also benefit from the comfort of the GoTo system. Note that the mount is implemented with an electric motor and you can control the telescope using the handset. You simply need to press a few buttons and the telescope will slew to the object you chose. Consequently, it saves you time finding the object.

2. Aperture

The aperture decides how vivid the images are and whether you could see finer details. To obtain great views, make sure to pick a Dobsonian telescope with an aperture of 8 inches or more. With an aperture of 8 inches or more, you obtain clear views of deep-sky objects and Moon craters.

3. Stability of the base

The majority of the Dobsonian telescopes are uniquely designed to offer a firm base that offers great stability to the entire telescope unit. It is recommended to check this feature before purchasing. The decent stability not just enhances your work experience but also helps you to hold the telescope in the position you want.  Moreover, decent stability lets you move the telescope in the direction of the object you wish to observe.

The excellent stability of the base facilitates easy point-and-view navigation, smooth motion, and easy tracking. Also, it conveys a vibration-free image even when viewed at high power.

4. Other features

You can take into account some additional features to make the most of the purchase. For example, you can look for a Dobsonian telescope that is equipped with superior quality parabolic mirrors that guarantee superior light transmission. Also, it is better to choose the one that comes with efficient magnifying and optical accessories like various filters and eyepieces, computerized object locators, cooling fans, etc.

Components of A Dobsonian Telescope

1. Primary Mirror

The primary mirror refers to the first mirror for incident light in a reflective telescope, it is generally the largest mirror in the telescope. The primary mirror collects and focuses light from distant objects and reflects it back to the secondary mirror.

2. Secondary Mirror

The secondary mirror is the second mirror that the starlight encounters after being reflected by the primary mirror to the reflecting telescope. Its diameter is generally smaller than that of the primary mirror. The secondary mirror turns the light 90 degrees and reflects it to the focuser on the other side of the barrel.

3. Barrel Assembly

The barrel assembly includes the secondary mirror and the primary mirror, with the focuser and star finder attached to the exterior. Some users of Dobsonian telescopes use a truss construction rather than a closed barrel.

4. Focuser and eyepiece

As with the reflecting telescope design, the eyepiece and focuser are located at the top of the barrel and protrude from the side of the telescope.

5. Altazimuth mount

Dobsonian telescopes use a altazimuth mount, where one axis can be tilted up and down and the other axis can be rotated horizontally. The altazimuth mount is a way of supporting a telescope that allows the telescope to move freely in parallel and vertical horizontal directions. The general popular telescope adopts the horizontal bracket, which is simple and light in structure and also cheap in price.

6. Finderscope

The finderscope is a small, low-power telescope attached to a large telescope to help observers find the location of celestial objects. It is a miniature telescope with a wide field of view that allows you to focus on your target.

The finderscope generally adopts double separation or double glue objective lens, with a diameter of 5 to 10 cm, and a reticle for aiming at the focal plane. The field of view is generally about 3°, and eyepieces with a large field of view are commonly used, their magnification is about 10 to 20 times.

FAQs When Picking The Best Dobsonian Telescope for Beginners

1. How does a Dobsonian telescope work?

The optics of Dobsonian telescopes function identically to Newtonian telescopes. Usually, they have a parabolic primary mirror or a concave spherical mirror at the rear. The corresponding mirror gathers and focuses the incoming light over a flat secondary mirror. Subsequently, the secondary mirror reflects the image into the eyepiece. 

2. What is the difference between a Newtonian telescope and a Dobsonian telescope? 

Generally, Dobsonian telescopes use thinner mirrors and provide bigger apertures than Newtonian models. On the other hand, Newtonian telescopes are usually heftier than Dobsonian telescopes. Note that the key difference is the Dobsonian mount. Special Altazimuth mounts are found in a lot of Dobsonian telescopes. 

3. What magnification a Dobsonian telescope should have if you want to see planets?

If you want to see planets like Saturn and Jupiter then magnification of approx. 30x is a minimum requirement. If you want to see planets like Mars then magnification of approx. 100x is a minimum requirement.

4. Can you capture pictures with the best Dobsonian Telescope for Beginners?

Yes, you can capture pictures using a Dobsonian telescope from a reliable brand. Make sure that the telescope you purchase allows connecting a Digicam or a DSLR camera.

Final Thoughts

The best Dobsonian telescope for beginners eliminates the hassles of setting up the telescope. Their simple design, ease of setup, and tons of useful features make them very beneficial for beginners. The output from these telescopes depicts crisp, clear, and super-sharp. They are great for planetary observation, boast large apertures, and don’t suffer from image distortion.

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